WASILLA — Tyler Adams is a defending state champion. But the Wasilla senior has bumped up a few weight classes since winning it all at 130 pounds last season.
Adams has a new home at 145 pounds. But it’s also a place Soldotna senior Auston Tennis, won a title in that class last year, has owned.
Saturday the new rivals met for the first time and Adams made his pitch to take over the class.
Adams scored an 11-2 major decision over Tennis to win the 145-pound class at the North-South Invitational at Wasilla High.
“It’s been an expected match for along time this year,” Adams said. “I’ve been really looking forward to it.”
Adams used an early takedown and near fall points to take a 4-0 lead into the second period. He padded that lead with an early reversal in the second and led 8-0 midway through the middle frame. Throughout the first two periods, Adams was aggressive consistently going at the strong Soldotna senior.
“You got to wrestle to win, you can’t wrestle to lose,” Adams said. “There’s a difference.”
Adams was also fueled by the thought of a loss he suffered only two weeks ago, during the finals of the Lancer Smith Memorial at Palmer High. Bethel’s Marko Kujo used late near fall points in the third period to upset Adams.
“I don’t like losing. I don’t think anyone likes losing,” Adams said. “But it pushed me.”
Adams was one of a half-dozen Wasilla grapplers to win their weight class and lead the defending state champions to a lopsided victory in the team standings. Wasilla scored 240 points, more than 50 points ahead of second-place Kodiak.
Tennis was one of four Peninsula wrestlers to advance to the finals, with two winning titles.
Kenai’s Ellery Steffenson and Troy Strief both pinned their way to championships. Steffenson needed only 1:11 to pin Kodiak’s Cameron White at 132 pounds.
Strief pinned Kodiak’s Charlie Johnson in the second round.
Hope Steffensen finished second at 106, falling to Kodiak’s Andrew Caballa 8-4. Steffensen and Caballa were tied at 2 heading into the second, but Caballa used an early reversal to take the 4-2 lead. The Kodiak grappler pushed his lead to 6-3. After Steffensen’s second escape of the period, he added a late takedown.
Soldotna led Peninsula teams with a fifth-place finish.
1. Wasilla 240; 2. Kodiak 186; 3. Colony 137; 4. Palmer 129; 5. Soldotna 94; 6. Wasilla JV 86; 7. Kenai 64; 8. West Valley 54; 9. Palmer JV 44.5; 10. Colony JV 42; 11. Thunder Mountain 34; 12. Kodiak JV 34.
106 pounds — A. Caballa, Kod d. H. Steffensen, Ken 8-4; 113 — W. Booth, Col d. L. Fried, Kod 13-6; 120 — F. Llorente, Kod d. S. Carpenter, Was 10-7; 126 — D. Agnew, Was d. A. Fox, Was 4-3; 132 — E. Steffensen, Ken p. C. White, Kod 1:11; 138 — B. Serna, Was d. N. McKimson, Was 5-4; 145 — T. Adams, Was m.d. A. Tennis, Sol 11-2; 152 — S. Root, Col d. K. Lepola, Kod 11-8; 160 — C. Pempek, Was p. J. Pavitt, TM 0:42; 170 — S. Root, Col won by injury def., D. Burton, Col; 182 — T. Strief, Sol p. C. Johnson, Kod 2:46; 195 — A. Gonzalez, Was d. B. Button, Pal 8-5; 220 — A. Akelkok, Was p. T. Bigley, Kod 4:23; 285 — R. Pomrenke, Was p. T. Farber, Col 5:33.
106 — M. Vandermartin, Col p. F. Warner, Was 0:36; 113 — A. Shannon, Was d. D. Ellibee, Col 7-3; 120 — A. Molesky, Pal p. H. Bourggois, Sol 3:22; 126 — E. Burris, Kod d. N. Pempek, Pal 5-4; 132 — C. Minnick, Was d. E. Fouch, Pal 1-0; 138 — D. Carter, Ken m.d. D. Medina, Pal 11-1; 145 — L. Heun, Pal m.d. B. Beltran, Kod 12-4; 152 — V. Fricilone, WV T. Olson, Was 2:22; 160 — Z. Rockstand, Was p. D. Wibbe, Kod 3:59; 170 — K. Powers, Kod d. K. Foust, Sol 5-2; 182 — A. Fuller, Was d. C. Nielson, Pal 2-1; 195 — I. MacKenzie, Col d. J. Ryno, Pal 6-2; 220 — C. Frohling, Pal p. S. Imof, Was 0:46; 285 — B. Thompson, Pal p. S. Maranville, Pal 0:45.